To Glorious Venice Again

My weekend in Berlin was filled with historic buildings and some great museums. Saturday night there were fireworks and a rock concert (too late in the evening for me) at the Brandenburg Gate celebrating German Unity Day, when East and West became one, 24 year ago.

Berliners have been kind enough to put five of their biggest and coolest museums together on the nearby “Museum Island” in the Spree River. They're doing a lot of site improvement, so it was also a construction zone, but navigating it Sunday wasn't too bad and the Museumspass card saved us money and opened all doors without waiting.

One of the big attractions at the Neues Museum is the bust of Nefertiti, shown on the banner at left. Sadly, no photography of the real McCoy was allowed but you can Google her. A very impressive artifact and, if true-to-life, a lovely woman. I hate to think she had buck teeth and warts and the sculptor, thinking of his own neck, provided an idealized rendering of the Egyptian queen, but you never know.

After many hours of museum salon strolling and getting a touch of museum fatigue, John and I headed to a recommended dive, Deponie #3, underneath the nearby elevated S-Bahn tracks for a signature Berlin dish: Curry Wurst. This proved to be a monster hot dog, slathered with curry-flavored ketchup, and fries. Pedestrian but tasty, and we can say we had it. And that once was enough.

Sunday night we took in a “Gentlemen's Club” which, here in Berlin, was pretty unrestrained. I won't jeopardize this blog's PG status with details but I can say it was an “experience” and European women are beautiful.

Monday saw me on the Air Berlin flight to Venice. John was headed back to States today. As discount airlines go, Air Berlin was fantastic. Absolutely excellent web site, automated email reminders, online check-in, boarding pass delivery in a lot of different ways, great staff, and a pleasant and comfortable flight. A great example of how it should, and can, be done.

Venice is always remarkable. I arrived to a warm welcome back from Gabriel and Diego at the Hotel Casa Fontana (their family owns and runs it) and soon after dove into some cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and red wine at the Bacarro Risorto next door. Later, I had a wonderful meal of breaded veal and roasted potatoes at Osteria Oliva Nera, a very nice restaurant. I especially enjoyed the deep-fried zuchhini flowers stuffed with anchovies and sour cream! A fine Tempura-like appetizer.

Today, I'm off to the “Hidden Venice” walking tour, followed this evening by my traditional visit to Harry's Bar. So, until tomorrow, buongiorno!


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